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6-1-Pho to Bring Vietnamese Flavor to Clintonville

Rebecca Wagner Rebecca Wagner 6-1-Pho to Bring Vietnamese Flavor to ClintonvillePhotos by Rebecca Wagner.
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“Foe, or fuh?”

So goes the question that often arises each time the subject of pho, the flavorful Vietnamese noodle soup, is breached. Though the popular dish entered the American mainstream back in the 90s, its correct pronunciation still remains a source of contention for many.

Clintonville residents will soon be posing this question much more, when 6-1-Pho opens at 4386 N. High Street. The kitschily-named fast-casual pho shop is slated to open by the first week of August.

“You can pronounce it either way!” insisted owner Lisa Bui, laughing. “But obviously with the 614 name, I want it to be pronounced ‘foe.'”

61pho-01In 2013, Bui, mother Mai Bui, and husband Ian Caposta felt there was a limited presence of Vietnamese cuisine in Columbus. The three partnered and spent two years developing a restaurant concept that would modernize Vietnamese food without sacrificing authenticity. When they settled on a final plan, Caposta, a culinary school grad with years of restaurant experience under his belt, resigned from his position at Press Grill to help develop 6-1-Pho full-time.

After taking time to hone the 6-1-Pho concept, the trio signed on a lease in April, in a medium-sized space shared with Wesbanco.

“There was never a rush. We both had full time jobs, so we wanted it to happen organically,” said Lisa Bui. “This location fell in our lap, and we get the best of both worlds.”

Focus was kept on Mai Bui’s family recipes. Bui, who came over from Vietnam in 1975, had a variety of northern and southern Vietnamese recipes stashed in her cookbook arsenal – pho from the north, and the rice bowl from the south.

“My most important thing was trying not to lose the authenticity of the recipes, since they’ve been passed down through generations of my family,” said Bui.

6-1-Pho will serve a choice between a pho bowl, rice bowl, or noodle salad. You pick you protein (chicken, pork, steak, tofu, meatballs, steamed egg meatloaf or a raw steak pate), and a variety of fresh toppings. Vietnamese banh mi, a sub-style sandwich, will also be available; pork belly, soy chicken, and veggie soy ham are a few of the banh mi toppings. Bui intended to keep the concept simple, with a few quality, fresh choices to keep the order process streamlined. The pho is made from scratch and brewed for two days prior to serving. Though meat-based option abound, the menu is extremely accommodating of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free palates, most noticeably with vegan pho broth.

“Clintonville is so up and coming,” said Bui.  “It’s the right spot, and the right demographic – I feel like the community is so welcoming and willing to try non-chain restaurants.”

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The restaurant seats 50, staying aligned with fast-casual style with a custom-order counter similar to Chipotle, Piada, or Bibibop. A small outdoor patio seats 15. Altogether, a meal will run you about $7 – $10.

They plan to secure a beer and wine license eventually, but are focusing on food for the time being. If all goes well, expansions may happen in the near future. 6-1-Pho will be open Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

For more information, visit www.61pho.com.

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